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Well, she did it. Hillary's purpose today required somebody who could speak out of both sides of their mouth simultaneously, who could look you in the eye while stabbing you in the back, who could undermine while staying on the high road. She rose to the occasion as I knew she would.

The whole speech was damning by faint praise. The pundits pretty much covered that. I didn't count, but I think she mentioned McCain's name more often than she mentioned Obama's, and there was as little fire in her condemnation of McCain as there was in her praise of Obama.

But did you see what she did to Michelle? I've never seen anyone at a political event such as this throw more overt hatred toward the podium than the little Missus did tonight. If there was any purpose besides self aggrandizement and firing up her base to that introductory video, it could only have been to piss off Michelle. Then, right off the bat, the fourth line of the speech: "I'm a proud American." It wasn't the words, but the blatantly mocking tone. It was a shot fired across Michelle's bow.

Why piss off Michelle? Watch for it in the next few days, the next time they let her speak publicly after they think she's cooled off a bit. That look in her eyes tonight said she'll never forget, and never forgive. Hillary!'s hoping the vision of an angry black woman on everybody's TeeVees will put McCain in the White House and leave the 2012 nomination without an incumbent presumptive.

That mission accomplished, she turned her attention and simultaneous lack of attention on Barack. I'm sure that if this speech hadn't been so carefully crafted for other purposes, she could have found the bulk of it on the net complete with "Fill in candidate name here" blanks. A political Mad Lib.

When she wasn't making everybody's eyes glaze over in preparation for losing the next Barack mention in white noise, she was busy reminding us of Barack's "57 states" gaffe with her emphasis on having been to all 50 states plus Guam and the territories. Again, watch for the tone of that if you see a clip later.

Then, and this was a master stroke:
"John McCain is a friend, and he's served this country with honor and courage, but we don't need ...." beat .... "four more years..."
What do you think the people in that audience, and the millions on TV filled in that beat with? I know I did. Talk about damning with faint praise: "Vote for Obama because we don't need honor and courage." And she never had to say it out loud.

Oh the subtlety - sheer genius. She knew she only had to turn a few of her supporters over to McCain, and maybe convince a few more that they have better things to do on the first Tuesday in November, in order to have a clear shot four years from now. That she did it without once getting her hands dirty was quite an accomplishment.

UPDATE: Evidence that she nailed it. Of course, it's reported as evidence that she fell short of what she was trying to accomplish, but that's because everybody was reporting that her purpose was to "heal" the divisions, rather than deepen them. I'm sure the leaders of all those pro Hillary groups that suddenly sprung up out of nowhere (wink wink, nudge nudge) after she lost the primary were told to keep up the good work. The WaPo article is part and parcel of that.


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